Justified Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Hell Yeah, It Is a Powerful Thing

By Cheryl Collins


Well, all the plots suddenly thicken — to the extreme — this week, and Justified feels worth watching again.

Both Raylan and Boyd find themselves enmeshed with femmes fatales harboring very murky motives: Boyd with Mara, the Latvian wife of Paxton, who wants her hubby dead and wants Boyd to do it, and Raylan with Alison, the pot-smoking social worker and who just might be hanging around Raylan to get her hands on some hidden money. The in-process crosses and double-crosses, betrayal upon possible betrayal, were head spinning.

It is the women – and their assets — who drive the action.

“Pussy is a powerful thing.” Boyd says, and that just about sums the episode — and the season. Mara lets hers hands wander all over shirtless Boyd’s tattoos as she pulls his hand to her crotch, while reminding him of the necessity of killing her husband, in one scorcher of a scene. Alison, meanwhile, reminds Raylan that she just might be in on the finding the goodies in that house he’s shacking up in, right before he takes her on the desk.  This is all so, very, noir. Even Candy the crack whore is able to find out when the drug shipment is coming in by promising her dealer that special something-something only she seems to know how to do.

(As Alison has that talk with Raylan — while fondling a paper opener — she is wearing an oversized flannel shirt. I noted last week the flannel shirt seems to be the show’s visual code for “poor white”; was this a way of pointing us to her origins? “You are who you are” was the theme set in the first episode, so were they telling us she is not whom she seems?)

And what exactly makes a real man? Two manly men — Boyd and Darrell Crowe — both find time to lecture Dewey about how to man up as they try to push him this way and that to fit their needs. Mara humiliates the cop who threatened her by squeezing his balls, literally, and is ready to do it — or rather, to have Boyd do it.

Very interestingly, all of a sudden we have two interracial “couples” on the show. Raylan and his straight arrow co-worker Rachel, in a platonic temporary cohabitation, as well as the highly icky Confederate-loving crook Monroe, whose “maid” tends to his personal needs. The way these two couple mirror each other — as Raylan and Rachel live in Monroe’s swank digs — is delicious. The subtle racial tension is the most interesting aspect on the show right now.

No one got killed tis time: this episode was all about building tension. Soon enough there will be release. This is Justified, after all.

Fun fact: the excellent actor who plays my favorite character — the dimwitted Dewey Crowe — is actually an Australian.  Boy, he has the accent down.

Use of the word “pussy”: 1


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